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"Bill of Indictment" Summary

The 1992 "Bill of Indictment" was brought by the District Attorneyís office of the Augsberg (Germany) district court against defendants Anton Eyerle and Walter Dittel, both German nationals, and Subramanian Venkataramanan, an Indian citizen. They were charged with, among other crimes, illegally exporting fuzing systems and parts for Al-Hussein ballistic missiles and Styx anti-ship missiles from 1987-1990. Through firms they controlled, including Rhein-Bayern Fahrzeugbau GmbH and Rhein-Bayern Avionic-Dittel Gmbh, the three ultimately sent over DM29 million worth of illegal exports to Iraq (some $17 million at current exchange rates). The defendants were convicted in 1994, and will serve up to five and a half years in prison.

Several aspects of the case are worthy of note:

  • Missiles: Over the course of their dealings with Iraq, the defendants traveled several times to Baghdad, and were provided with original parts for fuzing systems by Iraqi engineers and Iraqi military personnel. These parts were then used as the basis for reverse-engineering efforts that were subcontracted to dozens of firms throughout Germany and Europe. At the time of their arrest, the defendants appeared ready to embark on reverse-engineering of inertial guidance equipment for Iraq, including gyroscopes, accelerometers and potentiometers. This is in addition to prior exports of asbestos for warhead and airframe insulation, as well as graphite rods for use in missile nose cones and tail assembly components.
  • Chemical: According to court documents, in 1987 the Iraqis were seeking precursor chemicals for sarin nerve gas production; the documents make clear that Eyerle had intimate knowledge of these requests, though it is less clear if he or his colleagues were directly contacted by the Iraqis for this purpose. However, using a German supplier and German intermediary, in 1990 the defendants obtained six "floating bodies," four of which were exported to Iraq. These bodies are containers intended for use in 122mm rocket warheads carrying chemical agents. An injection molding machine and related equipmentófor production of screws and connectors for the floating bodiesówas also shipped.
  • Nuclear: In eight separate shipments, beginning in January 1990 and ending that May, the defendants exported to Iraq 240,000 ferrite cores and 10,000 ringband cores, components for hysterisis motors used in gas ultracentrifuges; centrifuges are used to enrich uranium . The cores were actually produced by German companies and then delivered by Eyerle and his colleagues to the Electrical Industries Establishment in Baghdad. According to one expert witness, the components were enough to produce 10,000 centrifuges. In addition, a complete stator was manufactured at the defendantís facility and given to an Iraqi national in the spring of 1990 for later export to Iraq. Interestingly, Eyerle has been connected to the German engineer Karl-Heinz Schaab, who is charged with selling Iraq blueprints and key components for URENCOís advanced TC-11 centrifuge. Schaab apparently stole the blueprints when he worked for URENCO affiliate MAN Technology. Both Schaab and Eyerle owned firms in Kaufbeuren, and Schaab has admitted publicly to "cooperating" with Eyerle; the court documents, however, do not make clear if the cores and stator were intended for the TC-11 centrifuge, although it seems likely.
  • Yugoslav connection: Several of the Styx and Al-Hussein fuzing parts delivered by Rhein-Bayern were either manufactured or assembled by Yugoslavian companies. The Yugoslavs were intimately connected with Iraqís pre-war NBC and missile programs through the provision of technology, design expertise, and civil construction services. Moreover, post-sanction (after August 1990) shipments of fuzing components were made via Yugoslavia, and ultimately through a Yugoslav-owned company in Cyprus.
  • End-Use certificate: The court notes that in February 1989, Rhein-Bayern applied for a license to export a PC workstation, peripherals and software to Iraqís Nassr State Establishment, a key facility in Iraqís pre-Gulf War missile program. The German export office requested further documentation, as officials determined that the equipment was intended for printed circuit board production. Eyerle responded that workstation was not intended for military use, delivering to German authorities a Nassr-provided end-user certificate claiming the equipment would be used for "warehouse management of spare parts." The bill of indictment notes the Nassr certificate was signed by "an engineer named Raad Ismaeel [sic]." What it does not note is that, in fact, General Raad Ismail is perhaps the most famous missile engineer in Iraq, having earned the title "Father of the Al-Hussein" for his lead efforts in developing Saddamís extended-range Scuds. Ultimately, the defendants exported the PC workstation without an export license.

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